Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for the ‘Portraiture’ Category

Drawing Time

with 5 comments

Felt in the portrait mood late, so here’s a face I drew for practice while waiting for my bus after food shopping. No, not done from life–just from my head–but without being able to erase,which is good practice.practice face

Written by porchsitter

June 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Yet Another Scrapbook Page

with 7 comments

I made a page for my friend, after we spent the afternoon together last Monday. We hadn’t seen each other in at least a year, and she asked me earlier that day if I was free to meet up in the afternoon.

I brought my camera so we could take pictures of each other. When I got home, I used the first (and only candid) picture I got of my friend to make this scrapbook page. I chose the quote and the background images of Marlene Deitrich because my friend reminds me of those old time actresses who did whatever they wanted and still managed to be so nonchalant about it.

Written by foxndragon

May 28, 2008 at 11:26 am

Posted in Digital Scrapbooking, Portraiture

Tagged with

Into the Forest

with 9 comments

“Into the Forest”

Photo Montage

L. Gloyd (c) 2008

Written by Pelican1

May 28, 2008 at 3:54 am

Posted in Portraiture

Little Things

with 8 comments

It’s those little things people remember about you, you know.

 

It’s not all the work you did, your big accomplishments, awards you achieved, contests or contracts you won.  It’s the little off-the-record comments that make people miss you.  After you’re gone, I mean.

 

One of my co-workers died a couple years ago.  A very nice guy named Denny.  He did good work, knew his IT, served his country, but I remember the little things.  I found some salt water taffy in the community candy dish…it reminded me that Denny used to bring the freshest, softest taffy back every time he returned from visiting his mother out East.  He also would bake bread a couple times a week and bring it in to the office to share…

 

It wasn’t just the food – it was Denny’s thoughtfulness.  He brought an ice scoop and a cup to rest it in so we didn’t have to use our hands to get ice…and a plastic pitcher with a line marked so we’d make never-fail coffee… he brought his spare drill into the office, just in case…it’s come in handy a number of times… 

 

Denny was genuinely cheerful – not in a fake perky sort of way – when he said, “Happy Tuesday!” – he meant it.  His joy de vivre was contagious – I felt better when he was around. 

 

So even though I didn’t know Denny well, I remember him, and I miss him.  For his practicality, his thoughtfulness, his smile, the way he always said, “Thank you, thank you!” – all the little things that made him Denny.

 

…Makes me wonder what people will remember about me…

 

© 2008 Kerry Vincent

Written by kvwordsmith

May 21, 2008 at 6:30 pm

Pink Lady on her Birthday

with 7 comments

Pink Lady

On her birthday
in pink satin
with her new helmet
and her new scooter
my lady rides

 

Written by cronelogical

May 19, 2008 at 1:58 am

Posted in Portraiture

Brenda Clipstone – Lemurian Portrait

with 12 comments

SibylGarden

At Riversleigh Manor there are many diversions. Brenda Clipstone offers martial arts and training with Chi in the gardens most days. Take your time to enjoy working with her. It will enhance your feeling of well being.

(The real, secret story of Brenda,

formidable martial arts instructor,

Riversleigh Gardens in black pants, rainbow hair and top,

cuts to the chase, with karate chops,

with thoughts of he who did her wrong.

Brenda has a broken heart, from he who done

her wrong.)

Here is Brenda’s private song

sung to her by the musical sprite

chorus in the Murmuring Woods,

where she often walks,

like Artemis:

“She tried to get the love,
tried to get the love –
tried -to – get – the – love,

from a hard man,
grown man,
lone man,
stone man.

But she didn’t get the love,
didn’t get the love –
didn’t – get – the – love,

now she’s a hard woman,
grown woman,
lone woman,
stone woman.

(Grown woman,
home woman,
wise woman,)”

(copyright Imogen Crest 2008.)

(image copyright Heather Blakey 2008.)

(Song originally came from Lemurian Abbey Archives, July 2005.)

Written by imogen88

April 16, 2008 at 11:01 am

The Examination

with 8 comments

The boy stood stork-like on one leg, with the opposite foot rubbing up and down the long, raw weal of a scar on his spindly calf. The scar wound jaggedly down his leg from nearly knee to ankle, dipping in where muscle had been lost and bone had cut through. The boy realized what he was doing and flushed, putting the foot down rapidly and shifting so that his weight was borne by the good leg.

The boy looked well enough, aside from the scar. A little scrawny, perhaps, but the children from mountain villages frequently were. The growing season up there was short enough that rations were often strained, and children’s growth suffered.

He had made a youngster’s effort to be clean – there were high-tide marks at his wrists where he had washed his hands, and his face showed signs of a similarly perfunctory washing with a slightly less grimy area around his mouth and nose. His calloused feet were filthy and bare, and his legs were smeared with dried mud. His bony little knees and elbows were scabbed and scraped, all normal for a small boy.

He wore a pair of too-large shorts that were dyed a muddy brown and had numerous patches and darns. They were held up with a length of braided woolen cord, probably twisted from bits of fleece gathered here and there. He had a small felted pouch hanging from it, bulging with what were probably all of the boy’ belongings, and a small belt-knife with the handle wrapped in cord. He wore the short, rounded vest that many of the mountain inhabitants wore, too – with no shirt, as was the custom in summer. His was dyed the same muddy brown as his shorts, and sported nearly as many patches and darns. Unlike the shorts, it was too small, showing the boy’s ribs all too clearly. The man examining him frowned. There was another fresh scar here – not so large as the one on his leg, but about the same age.

The boy fidgeted with the tie-strings at the front of the vest as he stood there; he stopped and put his hands behind his back when he realized what he was doing.

The face was a strong one, the boy’s grey eyes clear and bright. His nose was straight and lightly freckled and his cheeks were ruddy from the sun. He was chewing on his lower lip nervously as he stood there, but there was good-nature and patience as well as intelligence and curiosity there. His hair was straight and black and looked like it had been carefully trimmed with a dull belt-knife in the dark, hanging this way and that all over his head and straggling down to the neck of his vest in the back. It had the look of not meeting with a comb for several days.

The boy wore the customary necklace of knotted string around his neck. It was new-looking, so the boy’s birth festival couldn’t be long past. The bead on it, though, wasn’t clay, like that of most common folk, particularly children. It seemed to be made of copper; metal beads of this sort were usually worn by those wealthy enough to donate large sums of money to the temples. It would bear closer examination.

“How many festivals have you seen, boy?” boomed the man from the large wooden chair, after his careful examination of the boy. The raven on the back of the chair jumped the sudden sound and flipped his wings irritably. The man put up a hand to soothe the bird.

“Eight, sir, and I have birthing-day feasts, not festivals,” replied the boy in a piping voice. It didn’t quite shake with nervousness. Not quite.

The man’s bushy white eyebrows went up. Birthing-day feasts were reserved for those with unusual birth circumstances. Everyone else made do with the once-per-full-moon festivals for everyone born during that moon.

“Do you, then?” the man asked.

“Yes, sir, I was born at noon, dead on, on the summer solstice. And that day in the afternoon, the moon covered the sun for a bit. See?” The boy leaned forward, holding his necklace out for inspection. The bead was copper, sure enough, and one face bore the symbol of the Sun Temple while the other bore the sign of the Moon Temple. “I’ve a special bead for my dedication necklace and everything.”

The man’s interest was suddenly much higher. A birth like this was a powerful portent. Dare he hope?

“Eight, and with a significant birthing-day,” the man muttered under his breath. Then he said, “You are a bit young, lad; most apprentices would seek me out at the age of at least ten or perhaps even twelve!” He waited to see how the boy would answer. The strongest apprentices often came at eight or so, but only the very strongest.

“My…my uncle said I had to come now, sir. He said it wasn’t safe to wait any longer. He didn’t know if he could get me through another winter, not after this spring.” The boy looked down at the stone floor and shrugged, his foot moving to rub the scarred leg once more.

“What happened this spring, boy?” the man asked in a gentler voice.

The boy gestured with his chin towards the scar on his leg. “That,” he whispered.

“Yes, and how did that happen?”

The boy looked up desperately with tears in eyes, “Please, sir, it’s almost as strong as ever. It’s just a little sore right now ‘cause I walked for three days on to get here. I promise it won’t be a problem – I’m not crippled, sir, I don’t need a crutch to walk now. Won’t you please give me a chance, sir?” The tears welled over and made streaks down the boy’s grubby face.

“I’m not judging your leg, boy, I just want to know what happened!” the man replied gruffly, startled at the boy’s reaction.

The boy looked down again and sniffled. “Yes, sir. Sorry, sir. Some of the people at home, they said you’d send me packing, ‘cause I’m nothing but a cripple and not good for anything anymore, not even herding the sheep like I used to. They said I shouldn’t waste my time or yours by coming here.”

The man didn’t say anything. He just waited.

The boy finally looked up at the patiently staring man and wiped his nose on the back of his hand. “You wanted to know how it happened, sir?”

The man nodded.

“It was cold, still, but most of the ewes had lambed. There was a bad storm coming. We were trying to get the ewes and lambs in to the sheep barn so’s we wouldn’t lose too many lambs – the littlest wouldn’t take a really bad storm too good. We had most of ‘em in, but I knew one of the ewes was missing, and somehow, I knew she was in trouble. Uncle – he’s the head shepherd, he watches over all of the beasts and us little ‘uns that help him too, told me not to worry, she was probably in a cave somewhere, ‘cause she’s a wily old thing, and he told me to get into the barn with the rest of the herders. We, us little ‘uns I mean, sleep in the top of the beast barn, in the straw, where it’s warm. I waited until he went to his croft, and I snuck out to find her. It was like I could hear her calling, and she was scared and hurt. I couldn’t just leave her, I couldn’t.” The boy stopped for breath, looking at the man with anguished eyes.

The man just nodded and the boy continued. “It was like someone was pulling me. I went right to where she was, way up on the cliffs. She was down on a ledge -she’d got down there somehow, she must’ve fell some, but she was standing, and there was a new lamb laying beside her. But she was cold and scared and I could feel it. There was a little trail down underneath her, and I thought that if I could climb down to her and carry her lamb, she might follow me down that path and I could get her home.”

The boy paused, gazing at the stone floor. “But my hands were cold, and the rocks were wet, and I slipped. I fell all the way down, past the ledge she was on. It didn’t matter if I missed her ledge, ‘cause I couldn’t have walked anyway. My leg was cut open and my leg bones were poking out. I broke my arm, and my ribs, and I hit my head so’s I don’t ‘member a lot of it. I just ‘member laying there in the rain, watching it turn to snow, and bleeding and hurting. I knew no one could find me, but I kept thinking about Uncle, and how I wished he would come and get me, and carry me home like I was going to carry that lamb.” The boy’s shoulders went up and down slightly in a faint shrug. “The next thing I ‘member is Uncle looking down at me and saying it was all right, that he had me. Then I was in a bed, with my leg and my arm pulled straight and my ribs all wrapped up. I was sick a long time, I know that. Uncle said it was a bone fever and my leg got foul. Everyone said I shouldn’t have lived and they still don’t know how I did.  I haven’t been up out of bed all that long, but I’ve been working at walking good ever since I got up. I knew I had to walk here, and that’s two days if you walk good. I made it in three.” The boy finished, his chin held up defiantly, and looked at the man.

The man gestured to a stool nearby. “Sit down, boy. There is no need for you stand. You have nothing to prove to me on that score.” The boy’s leg had to be aching badly by now. “I need to think. Wait here, but do not touch anything, until someone comes for you.”  As the boy walked over to the stool, limping only slightly, the man stood and walked through a door on the wall near the chair, closing it behind him. The raven flipped his wings, flew across the room, and disappeared out the open door.

– She Wolf (c) 2008

Written by Jane

April 15, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Portraiture

The Wicked Garden

with 6 comments

Continuing the story started by Anita Marie Moscoso…

Death steps further back into the Shadow, uncertain about the wisdom of seeking and taking a soul that feels far bleaker than his own. He puzzles over what, or who this woman is, how her life became a wasteland, so devoid of everything that she lacks even fear of him.

He stands back in the shadows, lost in thought, recalling centuries of stalking lands stricken by famine, beset by war and waste, dry dustbowls stripped of life, fostering and nurturing disease and pestilence, creating orphans and widows, collecting those who despaired and fell. Death had been in this world forever, and had never come across any one who’d actually mocked and defied him. It felt strange, uncomfortable as though she were stalking him, dragging him down with the bleakness of her soul.

Death looked up again, focussed on the spot where the woman had been standing; she was no longer in front of him. The space she’d occupied empty. He suddenly senses rather than hears her; a chill passes through him, he feels a slight pressure against his side, and feels the smell and taste of bitter herbs smothering him.

His frame shudders as he feels her bleak despair settle in his core, as he plunges into the deepest darkness beyond this world and gives himself up to sensations he has dispensed so many times before. Death hears the voiceless sounds, words in his head:

I have watched you, cheated you and overcome you, I am Nemesis

Claire, writing from The Painted Tree House

Written by Claire

April 13, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Portraiture

The Shape Shifter

with 8 comments

Who am I? Who am I really?  What is my essence?  She wondered as she looked at herself in the puddle reflection.  She saw a pale child soaring through the skies, totally in tune with the white horse with silvery outstretched wings.  The puddle rippled and stilled, revealing a young woman in flowing white robes and moonstones circling her neck floating amongst the stars.  Yet she knew she was now perched on top of the slow-moving green-brown box turtle, a tiny woman with earth-tone skin.  And yet again, she was the middle aged (some would call her a senior citizen or maybe even a crone) much larger woman of pudgy features and developing wrinkles.  So, who am I, really?  Could I really be all of those people?  Have I been all of those people or am I now all of them, able to shift back and forth? 

  

For years, she had been aware of her ability to sometimes appear one way and sometimes another.  But it seemed that circumstances called forth the transformation: perhaps a winged horse and angel rider appearing at her grandparent’s upper floor apartment window ready to take her for a midnight ride around the city and the church steeple; perhaps a squirrel calling her to enter the tree hole and wind up scampering on the branches while feeding on sunflower seeds; perhaps the vastness of the ocean drawing her forth into the mer-person to swim and soar in the deep waters; perhaps the sounds of the Space-Between and the Light enticing her spirit-wisp towards That Star;  perhaps…; perhaps…; perhaps… all those other times when her form changed in response to some stimuli.

 

Or perhaps, there was no need for the stimuli to generate the transformation.  What if that shape-shifting ability was within herself?  Perhaps she could just visualize and become the shape she needed for further growth.  

 

She knew she needed quiet time to explore this facet of her being: quiet time to reflect on the best way to use her talent and not to squander it.  A place for her to come to discover who she really was; a place that was a healing haven.   Perhaps Lemuria was that place.

 

 

Written by thalia

April 13, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Portraiture

Tagged with ,

A Little Bit Of Faery Dust

with one comment

A little bit of faery dust does go a long way. Me master makes me gather it, at the dawn of every day.

I am slow. I lack the rhythm that the High Court finds so fine. Yet I can catch these faeries with a bit of honeyed wine.

I set me traps out early, when the night rays start to fall. I toss in crusts of sugared bread, to appease the beasts I fears the most, kelpie queers, that leap about the loch.

Me master. He beats me. Uses a thick cord of birch I cut from a tree branch for me pa to use as a crutch after his leg was broke in that fall.

I dasn’t hurt the faeries, not even the uglier ones, the ones all covered in brown. Them don’t shines so much, but they sure do have plenty more dust. I has to shake them out over a pan. Sometimes I shake them senseless. But I always stand there and wait til they can at least get up, crawl back and away, back into the grasses.

There’s somes that knows me now. They throw things at me. Try to make me hide away. I am more afraid of me master than I am of any tricks they could try.

Others knows me troubles in this world. Theys knows I am a bit slow. They tries to help me. When they can. Helping catch the others. Sometimes more than one has offered up hisself to me for the prize his dust brings.

Guess thems the ones that seed the beatings himself gives to me should I fail to bring in the required amount.

Master calls on me ma to mix the potions up. I seen him beat her once.

That’s when me pa fell off his horse then. The horse died. I saw a great hole in his chest. I didn’t understand that. When I asked me ma about it, she stared at me awful hard before she smacked me good across me face. She ran away to cry into her apron, sitting facing the corner of the kitchen behind the stove. I don’t ask on it no more.

Pa don’t look nobody in the face no more. Since he lost that leg under that horse, one eye don’t work so well no more. I still don’t understand why, but I ain’t askin no more neither.

I watch ma make the potions. Lately himself has wanted something special, something sweet.

It is a bitter blue goo, thick in the pan, stinking to high heaven. It takes days and days to brew up each batch all on its own.

I watch her grind down herbs and herbs and plants and grasses. Sometimes she lets me follow when she goes to gather her goods out in the woods. Once she let me hold her knife and carve off bits of bark for her specials.

She grinds and peels and shreds this stuffs, dumping it into her special black pot that I’s not allowed to touch. I have to fetch up the waters for it too. Special waters that takes, from the well in the cave miles away. I am not allowed to stray too far from the farm, but when I fetch out these waters I am gone all the day long. I take with me the mule Hexa, to carry back the baskets full of sweet clear waters.

I dasn’t lay hands upon the waters once theys in the baskets, covered ups and over with the lids. I ties the lids on tight with the good rope me pa showed me how to strand up last winter. I never lose a drop. Ma says it’ll be more than me arse if I foul that up. Very clear she is on how I must do these things.

Ma pours in the waters little bits by bits. Uses her little silver cup. She sits and talks at it the whole while she makes it. I never hears for certain what it is she’s saying. Pa says she’s saying magic words, making the stuffs more powerful. Says I am to stay well away and let things be. Let ma work lest I get me hide tanned. I does what he says. I’m a bit slow. But I ain’ts stupid.

Ma says takes five days to make this stuff proper. Then she scrapes the bit of blue yuck into a leather pouch. Cinches it up tight she does before she hands it off to me. I gots to be the one who takes it to the Master. Usually to his workshop.

I hates that workshop. It smells of sour pig meat. Foul beans. Offal stench.

That’s where he keeps her. He does. My friend. Ariahn. She was so beautiful before he snatched her away into that workshop of his. Like a shiny goddess in the picture book ma has hid away wrapped up in white cloth. Such shiny red-brown hair. Such burning deep green eyes. Her skin so soft so white, like petals of roses floating on fresh creme. And she was clean. She was always so clean. And sweet-smelling. She smelled of the pasture hays and the wild flowers. She always smiled. Always. And laughed. All the time she was laughing she was. Sounded like bells ringing too. It did. She looked after me. She never turned from me after I got so slow. She never made fun of me. She always had time to stop and talk to me. She was so good to me. She is me cousin she. Me best friend.

Me they just beats. Himself just beats me. Beats and beats and beats. I am used to that.

Her he married he did. She was his pride and joy. Loved to show her off he did. What with all her skills and her talents.

I don’t know how it came to pass. One day he was all smiles to her. Then the Dark Man came. On his fine black horse. Then the world blacked out for us here. The Dark Man cometh. He stold away all our Sun.

Miss Ariahn. She bore the brunt of him. Had Master drag her off by the hair, that Dark Man did. Through the mud and the muck. Twas her screaming woke me up that night. I dasn’t go help her. All I could do was shake and watch. Pray she lived to see the new day.
It was near she didn’t. Those blood curdling screams of hers. Gods. They shake me in me boots every time I hear them. No day passes she ain’t made to scream now.

He beat her. He beat her and beat her and beat her. Worser than ever he beat me. But he never touched her face. Her pretty pretty face. He makes her sing some days. Loved to hear her sing for him, he did. Ma says she still sees he loves Ariahn. Says it still glows in his eyes. She says he’s the walking damned he is. I believes her.

I seen him many a day of late him leaves the workshop. Tears streaming down his face they are. But still he cannot quit himself. Lest the Dark man take to beating him. Taking away all his Power.

I gets to see her, when I take things into himself. I don’t know what he done or how he done it. I goes in and she is pressed tight up into the wall. I can sees clear the nails in her hands, in her wrists. There’s chains upon her. Wrapped tights around her throat. He keeps her in that fine red velvet dress she loved so much. The one she wore after theys was married. She wore it her first day her at the Node. It’s all soiled and in tatters it is now. Black with blood and muck. It’s tored loose and hanging above her waist. I dasn’t look there either. Himself has been cutting on her. I seen that too.

I has to go in there every morning, before anyone else stirs, and clean up all the messes in there. At first I tried to clean her up too. I tried so hard to wipe her face clean. Twas all covered with mud, smeared over. Only clear spots were where fell her tears.

Master beat me hard when he came in and found me trying to make her up tidy. I dasn’t try much, but I tries what I can. When no one is lookin.

He cut off all her hair. I smelt it all burning up one day. I dint know twas her hair til later after Master had gone to bed and I snuck in to feed her some. Master says I may give her water whens I’s there to muck up the floor. Naught but water he says. I am careful though. I takes her breads with sugars sweet. She smiles at me. She has no teeth anymore. I have to dips her breads in milk, soak them up soft and nice, and press them in between her lips. I have to force her to swallow it down. I see she wants to die, but I cannot help her there. She begs me so with her eyes. Never she says a word. Not one word. Still she smiles at me whenever she sees me. I makes her smiles I do. Just by me being there.

I knows he beats her hard. I know terrible things go on in theres. That evil evil shed. He keeps it too hot in the summer. In winter he allows no fire.

It was that evil Dark Man told himself about the faery eyes. Me ma she knows the old old ways. Pa says twas only a matter of time afore they fell upon her and set her to workin up the old stuffs.

The blue stuff goes into her eyes. Poor Miss Ariahn. I hears the Master screaming at her. All the time he’s screaming. Don’t look at me he shouts at her. Don’t look at me.

I seen him once. He grabbed out the bag from my hand and tore into it. He snatched up great gobs of the stuff and shoved it hard into her eyes. She screamed when it touched her. Screamed. Worse than befores. All the befores. So much worse. I got so scared I wet meself. Fell to the ground I did. There was sparks where that stuff hit her skin. Green sparks there was. Master he was screaming at her, screaming, the whole time. I nevers heard a word of it. Devils stuff, says I. I ran away. Took quite a beating the next day seeing as I hid out for a day and a night afore I could bear to go back. Himself beat me nearly dead. That after me pa beat me too.

Pa says he beat me trying to keep the Master from beating me. Tain’t do no good. Ma says she weren’t too sure she could patch me up. I don’t run away no more. I dasn’t try it. Me leg ain’t that good no more neither. Makes it hard to go anywhere. Always dragging on behind me it is now.

Poor poor Miss Ariahn. She’s doomed. As surely as the rest of us is here on this plantation. But the Master claims she’ll outlive us all and be damned too for all eternity.

I believe him. That man is the devil. If the Master ain’t the devil then that Dark Man is. And that makes the Master the Devil’s right hand man. And us all slaves to them.

by Raven TK

http://breakonthroughtotheotherside.wordpress.com/

Written by Tabitha Low

April 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm

The Time Machine

with 3 comments

If only Jason had a time machine he would have done so many things differently. He would have studied harder at University and got a better degree. Then he might have got a decent job instead of bumming around for two years.

If only he had a time machine he wouldn’t have run up that huge credit card bill and ended up in the dinghy damp flat in the rough part of town, paying off his bills for years.

If only Jason had a time machine he would have studied something more vocational than the Medieval History of Latvia. Perhaps Law or Medicine. If Jason had a time machine he would have had to go back to high school and chosen some science subjects, otherwise he’d have no chance getting into medical school. ‘A’ levels in History, Classics and English Literature wouldn’t go down well with the interview panel.

If only he had a time machine Jason would have asked out that girl in Sixth Form he had always liked. He was sure she had liked him too but he had been too embarrassed and scared of rejection to try. Looking back now it seemed silly.

Jason’s time machine could take him back to junior school were he could practice his football skills and by now he’d be a star like David Beckham, then again maybe not, maybe like David James but less accident prone. Then again he could have taken up a musical instrument. But no, by now he’d be an aging rock star trudging out tired old hits and dressing like he was still in his twenties.

Today Jason and his wife Carol went for their 20 week scan. The baby looked so clear, they both cried, it was a little girl. They were going to have a little girl, her name would be Libby. Jason loved Carol, he loved Libby.

If Jason had a time machine he would change nothing.

The Cricket on the Hearth

Written by Damian

April 10, 2008 at 7:04 am

Sarah, Queen of Pietown (portrait prompt)

with 7 comments

Her name is Miss Sarah Sue and she is Queen of Pietown! She reigns over the diner, Pietown Stompin’ Grounds, from her purple wheelchair. If she knows you, when she sees you come in, she squeals, “Hello!” and you feel like the most special person in the world!!

Sarah, 18 years old, loves girly-girl purses, Tinkerbell the fairy, her dogs and cats, school, and riding the school bus. She also loves tacos, Cheese danishes, and fizzy root beer. She absolutely loves to be the center of attention (as long as she’s with family and friends. Otherwise, she is shy, mumbles, and looks down most of the time.) When Sarah laughs, she laughs with her whole person, a deep-down giggle that invites everyone else to laugh with her.

Although she is paraplegic and lacks many motor skills, Sarah finds ways of getting what she wants. If her mom leaves her alone for 10 minutes, she comes back to a room that’s all in disarray somehow. Sarah’s vocabulary is limited, but you know just what she means. When it’s time for dessert, she eyes the pie case. Sometimes Sarah gets mad, and flips you the bird – the fingers are twisted but the intent is clear!

“Go to work, dumb butt!” is her way of telling her dad to quit teasing her. He calls her “Girly” and she tells him, “You a yo-yo, daddy!” and it’s obvious it’s a sign of affection between the two of them. Mom says it is her greatest joy – and her greatest pain – that Sarah will never “grow up”, due to the brain damage she suffered from shaken-baby syndrome. Mom adopted Sarah just as she was, saying, “She had the will to live, the fire of a fighter in her eyes, and I knew we needed each other.” Sarah has a special gift for touching people – mom has no regrets.

Sarah calls the restaurant owner “him”, Tinkerbell “her”, and me and my partner, “them”. She is an expert at communicating clearly, concisely. She is a very good teacher! And I am proud to call Sarah, Queen of Pietown, my friend!

By Kerry Vincent © 2008

Written by kvwordsmith

April 9, 2008 at 1:56 am

Ferry Woman (Part One)

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I was expecting to be ignored, so it came as a surprise when the ferry woman returned my smile of recognition. Taking it as a hopeful sign, I slowed my steps and veered slightly towards her, ready to abandon any idea of conversation if she should suddenly turn her back on me.

Her boat, the The Sow’s Ear was tied securely to the dock and swayed gently, rubbing against “bumper” tires that protected the weathered boardwalk planks. The smell of river water and mud, mingled with decaying vegetation was strong, but not unpleasant.

“Finished for the day,” I asked, “Or is there an evening tour scheduled?”

“Done. No crossings tonight. It’ll be a peaceful one.” Denim overalls covered a sturdy body and a short sleeved shirt bared hefty forearms, dark from the sun and powerful enough to pole the big boat to the Isle of Ancestors. “Heading for supper. Join me?” she asked, pointing to a diner across the street.

“Thanks, that would be nice,” Nervous that the slightest display of pleasure might cause her to run off, or worse, lead to an hour of awkward silence, I kept my tone neutral and said no more. We’d met once when she’d ferried me to a midnight adventure, but although I’d tried to engage her in conversation both going and coming, she’d hardly uttered a word.

We quickly settled into a small booth at the back of The Salt and Pepper Diner and after we ordered, the ferry woman looked me square in the eye and bluntly asked, “What do you want?” She held up a beefy hand when I began to protest. “No,” she insisted, “you sought me out. Why?”

“I recognized you from Heather’s drawing and wanted to ask your advice on a writing project.” Her eyes didn’t waver, so I continued. “What with all the portraits in one place and the identity poems the Ravens have been writing, I wondered. . . . . . .”

“Not my business, I captain The Sow’s Ear.”

“I thought an interview perhaps, or an anecdote you’d be willing to share. The portrait doesn’t even give your name. I’ve loved Lemuria from the start and only want to know the people a little better.”

Just then waitress arrived—lemon chicken piled high with mushrooms for me and the largest bowl of beef stew I’ve ever seen. “Here’s your regular, Mir, let me know when you and your friend are ready for dessert.”

Written by porchsitter

April 6, 2008 at 6:10 pm

Ferry Woman – Part Two

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Interview with Ferry Woman, Miriam Konrad:

Porchsitter: First, I’m delighted you agreed to be interviewed. I’m assuming, you’re a native of Lemuria and Duwaimish, yes?

Miriam:Lemuria, yes, Duwaimish, no. My great, great grandfather swam ashore after a shipwreck near Duwaimish when he was a young man. The Alluvial Mine had just been discovered and all along the coast people were talking about it. He decided to continue the adventure and get rich if he could, so he joined the first group headed inland. They got lost and arrived at the mines nearly starved. My great, great, grandmother was one of the first to offer the party food. It was love at first sight and he stayed. Worked the mines the rest of his life, and his sons, and their sons.

Porchsitter: And did he get rich?

Miriam: He found a fair amount of gold. The area built up fast, but there wasn’t any real luxury, it was too far from the coast to bring in big stuff, roads were bad, the countryside was arid and sparse. But they lived well.

Porchsitter: And your parents?

Miriam: Dad mined some, trucked food in on the side. I joined him for a few years, but the deeper you dig the harder it is to shore up tons of rock and dirt. Walls and ceilings had been caving in. Too many men had died. The owners finally closed it.

Porchsitter: Mining’s an unusual occupation for a woman? Were you the only one?

Miriam: Then, yeah. Now tourists come, mostly women; some to find a nugget or two, others to do soul work.

Porchsitter: So when the mines closed the family moved to Duwaimish?

Miriam: No, just me.

Porchsitter: Lemuria’s a big continent. Why Duwaimish? Following your ancestor’s footprints?

Miriam: Partly, but I’d always wanted to see the ocean. Once I got to the coast, though, I knew it wasn’t the sea calling me, it was the river and the Isle of Ancestors.

Porchsitter: Did you become a ferry woman immediately?

Miriam: No, that’s not permitted. First, I did odd jobs around town, later I held the main torch job on the Island.

Porchsitter: Torch job?

Miriam: Someone has to maintain the torches that light the cavern and the passageways for the ancestors and those who seek them. Torch workers also check for structural cracks and damage in between the regular scheduled inspections. With my experience in the Alluvial Mines, I was a natural for the job. You know, the isle’s honeycombed with hundreds of tunnels branching out from that main cavern. A famous Lemurian myth warns that one day all of Lemuria will collapse and sink into the sea and it will begin in the Hall of the Ancestors.

Porchsitter: That’s chilling! And after the torch job?

Miriam: I worked the orchards on the island. Loved the apples, the trees, the fresh air. I put a request in for ferry woman and one day I was called. Thought at first I’d made a mistake when I saw all the studying.

Porchsitter: Studying?

Miriam: Yeah, didn’t expect it. River lore, Lemurian history and myths, geography and geology of the whole continent and specifically this area. Then all the practical stuff: tides, engine and boat maintenance, poling, emergency procedures, communications, daily reports.

Porchsitter:Why the academic subjects?

Miriam:To qualify for an “Ancestral” job, you have to go back at least three generations on one parent’s side and two on the other, then you have to pass academic courses, practical ones related to the specific job and finally, you have to be apprenticed to an elder. There are studies for that, too and workshops. And, of course, I had to meet one of my own ancestors in the cavern.

Porchsitter: I had no idea!

Miriam: I studied nights and weekends for three years, while I saved to buy the Sow’s Ear. Fortunately, there’s no charge for schooling and room and board was included.

Porchsitter: Amazing! One more question. The Sow’s Ear is a strange name for a boat, how did that come about?

Miriam: We don’t usually disclose our choice, but since this is for Soul Food Ravens I will. Part of our final exam is to use the experience of meeting our ancestor to name our boat. My two sisters were very lovely, delicate and sweet as a teacup, mother used to say. When she left us and took them to the City of Ladies, she wanted to take me, too. I overheard my parents argue and father say, “Miriam stays with me. You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” It hurt so much. I left soon after and never saw him alive again.

When we met in the cavern and I asked my one question, all I could manage was, “How could you?”

He cried and told me he knew it would break my spirit if I’d gone with them and been forced into a life of afternoon teas and party dresses. In my heart I knew he was right and had always loved me. What I thought cruel, was just his unfortunate and clumsy act of love.

Written by porchsitter

April 6, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Lemurian Portrait – Ebony Wilder

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EbonyWilder

“Ebony Wilder,
Riversleigh housekeeper,
silver-y hair, blue hat,
 shells green peas,
with tea and sympathy,
orange frock,
and blue trim. 
Dreamy voice,
spinning tales,
stories emerge –
peas from the shell.
Ebony Wilder,
dropping surprised peas,
red ceramic bowl in her lap.
Green peas,
high seas,
sailor songs
of trea-che-ry,
china laden
wooden shelves, popping peas,
telling
tales of high seas.”

(Lemurian Portrait – copyright Imogen Crest 2008.)

(Ebony Wilder, the Ms Marple style housekeeper of the Lemurian Abbey and Riversleigh Manor, is mild mannered by day. But you do need to know that Ebony has long associations with a smuggling ring and had connections to dubious seafaring types from China who purport to have bottled the Elixir of Creativity. Ebony is none other than the notorious Captain Ebony Wilder, whose exquisite mind and swashbuckling style was the talk of the Lemurian Seas, created by Heather Blakey, copyright image 2008.)

Written by imogen88

April 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm